Alright, it’s time to talk about it: The early 2010s New York Knicks were fun.
The Knicks have been one of the NBA’s worst teams recently, drafting in the lottery four of the past five years. While their prominence has waned, the Knicks were relevant in the early portion of the last decade.
They weren’t a title contender during that period, but they did make the playoffs from 2011-2013. What made them so fun was that their style worked for the collection of talent they had.
The Knicks shot threes endlessly during those three straight seasons they went to the postseason — and they made them, too. According to NBA.com stats, the Knicks ranked second in 3-point attempts during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 campaigns; they were first in the league during the 2012-13 season.
During the 2012-13 season, the Knicks were fifth in 3-point percentage, shooting at a 37.6% clip. The only season during their three straight playoff appearances that the Knicks shot below 35% from deep was the 2011-12 season.
Carmelo Anthony was at the peak of his powers as a scorer, and he was the engine of the offense. Anthony won his lone scoring title in 2013, averaging 28.7 points per game and shooting 37.9% from beyond the arc.
It was one of Anthony’s best seasons, and the Knicks had earned their most regular season wins since the 1996-97 campaign. That season they had 57 wins and lost in the second round of the playoffs to the Miami Heat.
The 2013 Knicks had a viable big man in Tyson Chandler playing alongside Anthony. Chandler was one of the best rim protectors in the league at the time, as he had won the 2012 Defensive Player of the Year award. In 2013, Chandler earned his only All-Star appearance, averaging 10.4 points, 10.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks.
And of course, the roster was filled with shooters who could heat up at any time. J.R. Smith, Steve Novak and Iman Shumpert — each of them got the Garden cheering with their quality shooting.
Novak shot 42.5% from the 3-point line that season, and he ranked 11th in the league for 3-point percentage. Shumpert shot a career-high 40.2% from the 3-point line that season.
Along with Novak and Shumpert, Smith was beginning to peak as one of the best sixth men in the league. He won Sixth Man of the Year that season, averaging a career-high 18.1 points per game and shooting a solid 35.6% from deep.
With all that talent jelling, the Knicks were a playoff team, ranking second in the East behind the Heat. But after a first round win against the Boston Celtics, the Knicks lost in six games to the Indiana Pacers during the second round. The Knicks haven’t gone to the playoffs since 2013, but their brief spot of shine was legit.
With Anthony at the helm, and shooters all around, the early 2010s Knicks — and especially the 2013 team — were one of the Association’s most exciting teams to watch.